It's not my favourite Christie novel, but it's still an interesting story with great characters - I particularly like the malevolent mother who is the murder victim in this story. Not sure why it was called "Appointment with Death", though - time is a factor, but no appointments were made out in the deserts around Petra (in Jordan). Hugh Fraser does a great job again, and I love listening to his narration of so many of the Agatha Christie mysteries.
This is a good crime story written in a nicely set up future society, but the actual writing - the nuts and bolts of sentence structure and word choice - was pretty bad. I almost gave up on it because of the quality of the writing style (mostly the "he said/she said/I said stage directions), but my sister encouraged me to continue. I'm glad I did, because the story got better, but I still never did got used to the bad writing.
Amber Benson did a really good job of narrating, and I was glad I found this recording because I'd passed over this title before when I saw Wil Wheaton as the narrator (don't like his narration skills at all). The whole gender-neutral or gender switch situation is pretty much a gimmick, though, and too much was made of it. Listen to the samples and pick the narrator you prefer, and don't worry about whether or not Chris is truly male or female.
This is a classic story line and one of Agatha Christie's most famous, but I have never had a chance to enjoy it until now. Strangers all lured to an island house for a weekend, only to discover that they are all targeted for past misdeeds and are being picked off one by one by an unknown murderer. They face not only the fear of being murdered, but the paranoia when they realize that no one else is on the island, and so one of them is the murderer. Who to trust, and how to stay alive?
A fabulous story, not to be missed.
I am disappointed, because I have enjoyed reading several Kinsey Millhone books in the past, but I don't remember the long and dry descriptions of scenes. I just kept drifting off - the pacing was wrong and it just couldn't maintain my focus. To give Sue Grafton her due, it may have been because of the pacing and narration of Judy Kaye......This audiobook really has pretty bad narration. I can't figure out why so many people in California small towns have strong southern accents, and everyone sounds like they're in need of a drink of water to quench their dry throat. The bad narration could also be responsible for the bad pacing and overall drag of the story, because I don't ever remember that being a problem when I read Grafton's books.
I'm liking this series more with each book......this is a better mystery than the last and involves a little more character development too. The back-and-forth arguing that is often used as a cliche of old Jewish men was well portrayed and added a bit of humour as well. It's dated, but still kind of comforting, like watching an old episode of Murder She Wrote.
The narration is terrific, as expected. George Guidall is one of my favourite narrators, and he doesn't disappoint here.
This is a fascinating book that nicely weaves together the history of Korea and the creation of North Korea, with the stories of 6 defectors from North Korea who were interviewed in their new home of South Korea. Not just the stories of their defections, but of their lives in North Korea for decades before that......what their lives were like in the North Korea of Kim Il-sung and, later, Kim Jong-il. The book was published in 2009, a few years before the current leader, Kim Jong-un took control, though he is mentioned as Kim Jong-il's son. What really makes the book interesting is that it's a look at the lives of these average people (factory workers, students, teachers, farmers, etc) inside what is the most secretive and unknown country on earth. Their families, their homes, their jobs, the totality of how their entire existence was created, maintained, and shaped by the whims of the current leader. The continued existence of the repressive regimes well into the 22nd century remains a fascinating mystery.
This is both the story of Dr. Minor, a military doctor suffering from a lifetime of mental illness, and the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. It was interesting to find out what a great contribution individuals made to the book (the largest contributions were made by Minor), as well as the how it took almost 70 years to publish completely. I also hadn't realized that is was originally published in stages, from A on through the alphabet, as it was compiled.
These are two Agatha Christie novels I hadn't ever heard of, but I enjoyed them both and, as always, Hugh Fraser's narration is terrific. I can always count on Christie and Fraser to deliver enjoyable adventures with good characters for a really good listening experience.
I had really been looking forward to this one, but I wish someone had warned me about the milquetoast characters, the cliches, and the ridiculous emotions of the protagonist. This is like an attempt by a love-sick 14 year old school girl to write a script for an long episode of Criminal Minds. The protagonist is a Detective Sergeant - well placed in the police department - but she has no concerns about having a crush on her boss and mentally gushes like a teenager (she didn't want to delete a voicemail message so she could keep a recording of his voice). Of course, she is sure she will be the one woman who can turn him from his history of bad relationships so he will become a man of emotional substance and fidelity. When confronted with a suspect in her home, she asks politely for her cell phone that he had taken ("could you give that back please") and thinks about escaping to run and shout manically into the night for the police, apparently forgetting that she IS the police and should have better resources than that. I thought her an embarrassment to the police force, not just to female detectives.
There seemed to be an awful lot of emphasis on physical appearance and superficial surroundings, with frequent descriptions of everything from bodies and hairstyles, to food and decor. One detective was repeatedly referred to as being unattractive (I think the phrase "his monkey face" was used several times), while a victim was almost never mentioned without reference to her either being overweight or having acne. Is that what we''re supposed to focus on about these people? Is that supposed to make the more "real",interesting, or sympathetic? It makes me roll my eyes in exasperation. Then add in the occasional conversation on the glories of motherhood or the wonders of small-town living, and it gets even more juvenile, in my opinion.
The villain in cliched, the setting is cliched, the doctor is cliched, and the depiction of the police is either sexist or comically inept. I'd recommend you take a pass.
Even though this book was written over 80 years ago, there are certain underlying themes, dreams, and events that remain true today.......the more things change, the more they remain the same.
A man of humble beginnings raises a family and rises in wealth and power, only to watch his sons abandon the family business when he grows older and longs for nothing more than peace in his home. The family business is owning land and farming, the home includes not just a wife and children, but a concubine and servants, and there are other particulars specific to the time and place (rural China early 1900s), but it's all still about recognizable hopes and dreams.
Yes, the pacing is slow, but I'm pretty sure life was slow in rural China in the early 1900s, so that's appropriate. It helps to set the tone and feeling for Wang Lung's life and times. Yes, there are prejudices on class and gender lines, but that's also appropriate for the times. This was a slow, subtle road that was, in the end, ultimately very worthwhile.
The narration was wonderful. This is the second audiobook I've heard by Anthony Heald, and he's done a great job each time.
I have seen two of the movie versions of this book, and still there was an element to it that I didn't expect........Even though the author always claimed he had no political message in the book, I definitely heard more of it in the book than I ever saw in the movies.
This version is more psychological horror and suspense than it is about a physical monstrosity - the "pod people" are physical duplicates, not any abhorrent visualized mess. They are not filled with inhuman rage, they don't eat living flesh, they don't make blood sacrifices. Visually it's a creepily calm but otherwise normal-looking situation. But, what Finney seems to mention again and again, the "pod people" (for lack of a better term) seem devoid of the human emotions, including the emotions that make people want to improve and change things. The real fear of changing is that the changed become stagnant emotionally and psychologically, doing only what is necessary but nothing that is desired since - without emotions - nothing is desired.
To me, that's more than a "good read" as Finney said was his goal, that's a small-p political statement about the state of humanity.
Yes, it's a sci fi thriller with good pacing, heroic characters, and a ticking clock of impending doom. But it's more than that, and not really what I'd expected.
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